Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy (CP) is an abnormality of motor function (as opposed to mental function) and postural tone that is acquired at an early age, even before birth. Signs and symptoms of cerebral palsy usually show in the first year of life.

What are causes of Cerebral Palsy?

Premature birth is a risk factor for cerebral palsy. The premature brain is at a high risk of bleeding, and when severe enough, it can result in cerebral palsy. Other important causes of cerebral palsy include accidents of brain development, genetic disorders,stroke due to abnormal blood vessels, or blood clots, or infections of the brain.

What are the symptoms and signs of Cerebral Palsy?

The predominant symptoms and signs of cerebral palsy are related to motor difficulties, which are the consequence of the brain damage. The extension and severity of the brain lesion is the leading factor in the magnitude of the motor deficit. Many of the symptoms observed in these children are related to the primary problem that is impaired motor functions.

What are the types of Cerebral Palsy?

Based upon the form of motor impairment, cerebral palsy can be divided into types:

  • Spastic cerebral palsy
  • Dyskinetic cerebral palsy (according to the predominant symptoms dyskinetic CP may be either dystonic or choreoathetotic), which includes ataxic cerebral palsy, and
  • Hypotonic cerebral palsy

How is Cerebral Palsy treated?

Most of the causes of cerebral palsy do not have specific, curative treatments. However, children with cerebral palsy present many medical problems that can be treated or prevented. The initial stage of treatment involves an interdisciplinary team, consisting of a pediatrician, preferable one with experience in neurodevelopmental disorders, a neurologist (or other neurological practitioner), a mental health practitioner, an orthopedic surgeon, a physical therapist, a speech therapist, and an occupational therapist. Each member of the team has important, independent contributions to make in the care of the affected child.

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